Sports Illustrated looks at concussions effects on professional athletes

Louis was demented when he died.” Lou Creekmur was a 10-year NFL offensive lineman and a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Wally Hilgenberg was a 15-year NFL linebacker and one of the key members of the Vikings’ “Purple People Eaters” defense.

Over the past three years McKee has been given the brains of 16 former NFL players, some of whom suffered dementia, ALS or severe depression. Families of the players wondered whether there was a link between football and the psychological, physical or behavioral problems that afflict some older players. Rigorous testing has been completed on 14 of the brains; 13 were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that was so widespread in the brains of Creekmur and Hilgenberg. In addition McKee has examined the brains of deceased college and high school football players and found evidence of CTE in several of them as well. “I can say confidently that this is a distinctive disorder that you don’t develop in the general population,” McKee said. “In fact, I have never seen this disease in any person who doesn’t have the kind of repetitive head trauma that football players would have.” Read more:

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